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Watch for these 8 common warning signs an employee is about to quit

Posted by Kanika Sinha

July 19, 2021

Survey after survey suggest that an increasing number of employees are considering leaving their jobs. For example, in a June poll of more than 600 U.S. workers by employment website , a whopping 95% of those surveyed were contemplating quitting their jobs.

Meanwhile, 3.95 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in April this year, the highest number in two decades, and another 3.6 million quit in May, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.

Some HR experts are describing this widespread post-pandemic trend of job departures as “the great resignation.” But it is important to remember that employee turnover and retention have been always a concern for employers, regardless of the state of the economy.

And for good reason — job turnover can be costly, exasperating and time-consuming for employers. This is why managers and leaders should be aware when their valued employees could be mulling resignation.

But the big question is, how do you know? More often than not, there are signs and behaviors ranging from subtle to blatant that many employees close to quitting will exhibit. Here’s a list of telltale signs to look out for among your staff.

Not doing their best

It doesn’t bode well if a reliable star employee suddenly becomes undependable or less productive. Another red flag is they seem mentally not present or disengaged.

Not their usual self, professionally

After a while, you get familiar with a colleague’s habits, preferences, style and work ethic. Pay attention if you find any of these traits suddenly seem to change.

Someone who used to arrive early, leave late and volunteer for extra assignments but is now chronically tardy could be exhibiting signs that they are leaving. Maybe now they are doing the bare minimum, missing deadlines or calling in sick frequently.

An attitude of disengagement, such as an employee who is suddenly showing less enthusiasm and barely contributing during meetings also reflects someone on the verge of quitting.

Talk to us about how our customized HR services can help you provide employees with competitive benefits.

Pleasing boss matters less

A team member who used to do whatever it took — for example, staying late or taking work home — to meet the expectations of a manager or senior leader but who now seems disinterested is likely eyeing greener pastures.

Stopped returning work emails or calls

This is one of the most common signs that indicate that someone is contemplating resignation. They become less accessible and communicate infrequently, possibly resorting mostly to email rather than in-person time to avoid being put on the spot. Since they are already moving on, they may simply not care to respond back at all.

No longer commits to long-term projects

Someone who has made the decision to move on from an organization will be less inclined to undertake a long-term project. Committing to such a task could prevent them from meeting their desired separation date. They will be trying to wrap up their duties so as to be free and clear.

Becoming more vocal about their dissatisfaction

Sometimes those exploring new opportunities do not hesitate to express their dissatisfaction with the current position and the workplace culture to their colleagues, managers or HR.

If your previously seemingly content employee is suddenly having issues and whining at the workplace, it’s a sign that something is amiss.

Recently received a new accreditation

If you discover any of your employees have completed a degree or received a new license or certification you weren’t aware they were pursuing, it’s often a sign that they are making themselves more attractive for potential employers.

It is unlikely that someone would invest the time and money to upskill only to be stuck in their current position.

Less available to colleagues

A team player once willing to spend serious time with workmates but who suddenly becomes less social or engaged in group activities could be a signal that it’s time for you to ask whether they’re thinking of leaving.

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Kanika Sinha
Kanika Sinha

Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.

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